A shiny 6-3 record is a nice thing to have with ya as you head out for a three game road trip. The Lakers left early Monday in preparation for their game tonight against the Indiana Pacers.
Center Kwame Brown remained in LA nursing his sprained left MCL. The team will miss his defense tonight against Pacers big man Jermaine O’Neal. O’Neal hasn’t been himself thus far this season as he recovers from off-season knee surgery and a new up-tempo offense.
“I look at where we’re at right now and where I’m at physically, I’m on schedule to get back to where I need to be,” he said. “Obviously, I need to score some more points, get some more rebounds, block some more shots but we’re only 10 games in and we kind of game myself a 10-game cushion to get my rhythm going, get my cardio going. I’m really looking forward to (Tuesday’s) game to really pick it up on the offensive end of the floor.”
“He’s the best player in the world,” Indiana Pacers coach Jim O’Brien said. “If he’s interested in scoring, he’s going to score. Defensively, he showed for USA Basketball this summer that he’s one of the great shutdown guys in the world — certainly in our league.”
Bryant has been held under 20-points the last two games, which is extremely out of character for him. The emergence of the “Bench Mob” has taken some of the responsibility off of Bryant’s shoulders. The second unit eclipsed their own 67-point outing against the Suns with a 73-point effort against the Bulls on Sunday night, the most since the heyday of Showtime.
Jordan Farmar continues to lead the charge for the bench players.
“I’m definitely just more a part of it,” Farmar said. “The ball is in my hands a lot so that’s what it may seem like, and I’m making a lot of decisions. But nothing happens if they don’t help me defensively, if we don’t make the rotations, if I make the extra pass and they don’t knock the shots down. We’re just having fun.”
Andrew Bynum has also had a strong season while playing on the second unit and it is likely that Chris Mihm will get the starting nod in Brown’s absence.